Supporting an Indie Author

Supporting an Indie Author

Looking for a way to support your local independent author a.k.a. yours truly? You’re in luck! This post is for you.

Sign up for their email list.

Some literary agents ask about the size of your mailing list and factor that into whether or not they want to work with you. (The larger the mailing list, the larger the potential audience for the book, especially if you’re an unknown.)

Hint: Sign up for my mailing list over in that left sidebar. I won’t SPAM you. Just really occasional book updates and maybe a free short story here and there.
<———- Over there.

Buy the book

It doesn’t matter what platform you buy from, because indie authors aren’t “in it” for the money (most authors aren’t, in fact, because being an author is only lucrative if you are the likes of Stephen King, J K Rowling, or churn out endless erotica to a dedicated fan base). Just pick a platform and buy the book.

Don’t ask the author to give you a copy for free or at a discount. If I want copies of my own book, I still have to pay for them. There’s a discount for author copies, but it’s not much.

Do ask the author to sign the book. 🙂

Read the book

Obvious, right? But seriously. Read the book. Annnnd don’t tell them when you start the book if you aren’t committed to finishing it in a reasonable amount of time.

Buuuuut feel free to text your author friend when you get to a good part of the story and send them lots of heart emojis and “whaaaatttt?? whyyyy???” remarks. We authors love to torment our characters… and our readers. But all in good fun. Heh.

Leave an honest (positive) review

Say what you liked, what other kinds of readers you think will like it, compare to other books that you’ve like in the past, etc. No stress about making your review perfect. There are lots of great places to leave book reviews:

  • Amazon
  • Barnes & Noble
  • Kobo
  • Apple Books
  • Good Reads
  • Reedsy
  • Your local library
  • Your personal blog
  • Your Facebook page
  • Out loud to everyone you know
  • Skywriting and/or face tattoos

Here are some tips for leaving Amazon reviews that won’t get flagged and removed by their algorithm:

  • No same addresses or payment method/bank accounts as the author. (Sorry, family members and close friends, if Amazon that figure out that you know the author personally, your reviews will probably get deleted… but post them anyway. Just save a copy for the author too.)
  • No writing immediately after purchase. I recommend that you wait at least 4-5 days after purchase to post a review, even if you read the book as an alpha- or beta-reader or if you had access to an ARC (advanced reading copy).
  • No overt “friendliness” that indicates bias. Use the author’s full name, last name only, or “the author”—NOT their first name alone.

Also, if you can’t give the book three stars or up, maaaaaaaybe don’t leave a review. Writers are sensitive creatures.

Share the book via social media.

Don’t stress about it. Just share a link to the author’s website or the purchase page on your favorite book-buying site and mention that you’re excited to read it or that you know the author. Tag the author’s professional page and use the hashtags they use, so you can help the book gain momentum!

HINT: I’m using #outsmartingtime for mine.

Give the book as a gift.

Readers love to get new books! Buy a copy for a friend who likes to read. It’s an easy way to support your author friend without having multiple copies of their book on your shelf.

Contact your local library and ask them to add a copy to their collection.

Ask to speak to the head librarian or whoever is in charge of collection development. A recent study shows that 92% of libraries purchase and carry independently published books in their collections, so you can anticipate an easy conversation. Then just ask them to carry the book you’re looking for. If they ask for the ISBN, have it handy, or know the exact title and author name spelling off hand.

HINT: Outsmarting Time’s ISBN is 9798622830730, and it’s available in paperback via IngramSpark and eBook for OverDrive. Genre: Fiction/SciFi/Time Travel/Adventure

Contact your local Indie Bookstores and ask them to purchase a few copies.

Again, ask to speak to the manager or whoever is in charge of collection development. Then just ask them to carry the book you’re looking for. Have the ISBN handy, and you should know the exact title and author name spelling off hand.

HINT: Outsmarting Time’s ISBN is 9798622830730, and it’s available in paperback via IngramSpark and possibly through Baker & Taylor if they request it. Genre: Fiction/SciFi/Time Travel/Adventure

Lastly… don’t ask about sales figures

I’ve made this mistake myself, and inevitably the author feels the need to explain why their book isn’t good enough to sell millions of copies or downplay their efforts or their expectations. We all want to hit a bestsellers list. We all want to see a Netflix adaptation or feature film… but those are extreeeeeeemely long shots for most of us.

Here are some better things to ask/say about the book:

  • You’re an author! Woohoo!
  • I’m so proud of you for publishing your book!
  • Any good reviews or feedback on your book lately?
  • What are you working on now?
  • How’s writing going? Anything new?
  • When your next manuscript is ready, may I be a beta reader?
  • I read X, and it reminded me of your book.
  • Here’s a donut I got you to celebrate your new book release.
  • Here’s a donut because I know you’re probably stressed about people reading your book.
  • Here’s a donut I got you to help you smash writer’s block.
  • Here’s a donut. Just because.

So, there you have it. Now…. have at it.